Syeda Hasan

Development and Affordability Reporter

Syeda Hasan is KUT's development and affordability reporter. She previously worked as a reporter at Houston Public Media covering county government, immigrant and refugee communities, homelessness and the Sandra Bland case. Her work has been heard nationally on public radio shows such as Morning EditionAll Things Considered and Marketplace.

She got her start in public radio as an intern at KUT while earning her bachelor’s degree in journalism, with a minor in French, at the University of Texas at Austin where she served as a reporter for the Daily Texan student newspaper.

Ways to Connect

Gabriel C. Pérez

A fund created to preserve affordable apartments in Austin has raised enough money to begin buying properties.

Affordable Central Texas is the nonprofit behind the Austin Housing Conservancy fund. President and CEO David Steinwedell says the goal is to buy 1,000 housing units over the next year.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

It’s not unusual for local governments to help facilitate the nationwide census. But in Austin, those efforts are likely to be ramped up ahead of the 2020 census because of concerns of potential undercounting.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

If you’re a renter in Texas and you fail to pay your rent, your landlord may have the legal right to enter your home and take your belongings. The clause, called a landlord’s lien, is standard language in many residential leases, but it can also apply to stores and restaurants that fall behind on rent.

Lynda Gonzalez for KUT

A few dozen people gathered last week at the King-Seabrook Chapel at Huston-Tillotson University for a community safety meeting organized by the Austin Local Organizing Committee.

“The reason that we are here is not a pleasurable reason,” Robert Muhammad, one of the event's hosts, told the audience.

Stefan Keith for KUT

City leaders are weighing the possibility of putting an affordable housing bond on the ballot this November. A city task force is recommending a $161 million bond, but some Austin City Council members want to almost double that amount.

Gabriel C. Pérez

In the days after the Austin bombings, Jesus Valles couldn’t stop thoughts from buzzing around like bees in his head. He made sense of his feelings the best way he knew how: He sat down at his computer and began to write a public Facebook post about Austin.

“Austin is an exhausting place where racism smiles at you and does yoga and is a kind teacher and is such a good actor and is just trying to help you and just wants to know why you’re so upset,” Valles wrote.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Austin City Council is trying to figure out how the latest draft of the proposed land development code, known as CodeNEXT, could shape the future of affordable housing.

Syeda Hasan / KUT

On Haverford Drive in North Austin, the front door of the home where Anthony House lived has been boarded up with plywood. Save for that, there’s nothing to indicate what happened on this quiet residential street March 2.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Austin City Council passed a resolution Thursday that aims to help bring families displaced by gentrification back to the city.

The measure calls for giving preference for affordable housing to displaced people who have generational ties to certain neighborhoods. Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo, who wrote the resolution, calls it a “right to return” ordinance.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

As the number of demolitions soars in Austin, the city is considering changing the way it issues permits to make sure teardowns are done safely and people affected are properly notified.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

If you’re a renter in Texas, there may be a clause in your lease you haven’t noticed: a landlord’s lien. The clause gives your landlord the right to come into your home and take your personal belongings if you fail to pay rent.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

Austin's Historic Landmark Commission is paving the way for a major renovation of Rosewood Courts. The public housing project in East Austin was the first in the country built for black residents.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Central Health has parted ways with the firm previously selected to redevelop the old Brackenridge Hospital site.

Instead, the Travis County health care agency is now in talks with the nonprofit 2033 Fund. The group is interested in developing part of the campus, which spans six blocks of prime downtown real estate.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

Austin is often cited as one of the most economically segregated cities in the nation. Some researchers say that divide has major social and economic implications.

Montinique Monroe for KUT

The City of Austin has released its third draft of CodeNEXT, the ongoing overhaul of the rules governing what can be built where. Staff held an open house Monday at City Hall on the proposed land development code, inviting residents to view the new zoning maps and ask questions.

Martin do Nascimento for KUT

Less than a week out from the release of the latest version of CodeNEXT, city commissions are weighing in on what they’d like to see in this latest draft of Austin’s land development code.

The Zoning and Platting Commission laid out its plan last night for gathering public feedback on the new rules, which would regulate everything from parking requirements to the types of housing that can be built in Austin. Commissioners want to hold at least two public meetings in different parts of town, possibly holding a combined hearing with the city’s Planning Commission.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Like many University of Texas freshmen, Rylan Maksoud was looking forward to moving out of his dorm to an apartment off campus in the fall.

He signed a lease in September with the University House Apartments on San Antonio Street and put down a deposit. Then, in December, he got an email saying that the contract was being “mutually terminated.” 

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

About seven years ago, Lynn Meredith and her husband moved into a high-rise downtown. They can see the state Capitol from the building, and over the years, Meredith has watched as new skyscrapers have sprung up around the Capitol, while other construction plans have fallen through.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The 2018 tax filing season officially begins Monday, and Austin residents who meet certain income requirements can get free help preparing their taxes.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

For the past several weeks, a group of nine local nonprofits, government agencies and private companies have been mapping out new solutions to the city’s housing affordability problem. Last night, they presented their ideas at the Impact Hub, a coworking space on North Lamar, which organized the effort.

Jon Shapley for KUT

A group of local nonprofits, government agencies and private companies are taking part in what’s called the Affordable Housing Accelerator to address Austin’s housing affordability issues.

Courtesy of Reba Parker

Part 2 of a series on tiny houses

Reba Parker was living in Charleston, S.C., when she first learned about the tiny-home movement. She started searching online, looking into where in the country she could legally live in a tiny home.

Spur, Texas, popped up No. 1,” Parker says. “So I flew out to Spur, checked it out, bought some land. Within a year, I was in Spur.”

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Part 1 of a two-part series on tiny homes

As Austin’s housing prices continue to climb, developers are tapping into the trend of building tiny homes.

Kasita CEO Martyn Hoffmann says the Austin-based company is hoping to make home-ownership affordable for more residents through its space-saving designs.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Watchdog groups are concerned about a Department of Justice request to add a question about citizenship to the 2020 census. The agency says the information is needed to enforce the Voting Rights Act, specifically a section that bans racial discrimination.

“It’s just a ridiculous political statement and doesn’t hold water given the facts,” says Phil Sparks, co-director of the Census Project, a national coalition of groups that use census data.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

The third draft of CodeNEXT is set to be released next month, after months of delay. City staff gave an updated look at the schedule for the process at last night’s meeting of the Zoning and Platting Commission.

The group’s chairwoman, Jolene Kiolbassa, raised a question that seemed to be on many commissioners’ minds: When is the City Council going to take action?

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

An advocacy group in Austin is watching a federal lawsuit that challenges a New York landlord's blanket ban on renting to people with criminal backgrounds.   

Precourt Sports Ventures

The Austin City Council is weighing eight potential sites to house a professional soccer stadium and practice space after the Ohio-based Columbus Crew soccer team expressed an interest in moving here. But council members decided to hold off on a final decision for now, postponing a vote until Feb. 15.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

The Austin City Council is moving forward with plans for the region’s first-ever fair housing assessment. The effort aims to shed light on issues of housing discrimination across Central Texas.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Editor's Note: A Word About Your Responses To This Story

Swarms of Austin residents were tailgating ahead of the annual Texas-Oklahoma college football game on a Saturday this past October. About 50 other people decided to spend the sunny morning inside the Asian American Resource Center for something a little less action-packed – a meeting of Austin’s Zoning and Platting Commission.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez

De Shaun Ealoms always dreamed of owning a home, but she wasn’t sure how she’d get there.

After her son was diagnosed with autism, Ealoms moved to Austin from Dallas to be closer to her parents. To help cover her living expenses, she signed up for Section 8, the commonly used name for the federal Housing Choice Voucher program, which helps low-income families pay rent.

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